Experts Name Discovered 150 Million-Year-Old Echinoderm Fossil In Honour Of Ukrainian President

Researchers have named a 150 million-year-old aquatic creature discovered in Africa after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The strange animal had ten long limbs and sharp claws that resembled tentacles for gripping the seafloor.

Newly discovered invertebrate named after Ukrainian president 

The invertebrate, known scientifically as Ausichicrinites zelenskyyi, is linked to sea urchins, stars, and cucumbers. It’s a kind of feather star still widely distributed today on rocky seafloors from the poles to the equator.

University of Silesia’s Prof Mariusz Salamon, the study’s lead author, stated that the fossil was particularly preserved. Ausichicrinites zelenskyyi had massive limbs with claw-like ring appendages at the base to hold the substrate. Salamon said that they named the creature in the name of the Ukrainian president because of his bravery and courage in defending his nation against Russians. 

Feather stars have stunning hues, including intense reds, electric yellows, and vivid oranges. Interestingly each arm was a foot long. The creature seems to be a filter feeder, and the appendages are for catching food. Notably, the animals sit on the ocean floor with their tentacles spread, allowing nutrients to come to them once the current reaches them. Additionally, feather stars can shed an appendage similar to how lizards lose their tails as an anti-predator response. 

The specimen shows the potential for body regeneration 

Salamon explained that the specimen was able to regenerate, which emphasizes the hypothesis on the significance of predation in feather stars’ evolution. The specimen was around two inches in diameter, and researchers dug its remains in central western Ethiopia. 

The study authors indicated that comatulids or feather stars are popular from disarticulated specimens. In addition, the researchers discovered a rare comatulid dating back to the Upper Jurassic period. The fossil offers insight into the comatulid’s morphology of appendages and claws.

According to the researchers, the new fossil offers evidence of regeneration in feather stars. Since they are echinoderms, feather stars are similar to familiar feather stars. 

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